Russell Irons ‘19
Security team leader Pat Rooney is leaving Sherwood after 20 years, is going to Walter Johnson to fill a vacancy for its security team leader. Rooney’s motivations for switching schools towards the tail end of his career are not related to discontent at Sherwood, but rather a sense of duty.
“Walter Johnson is going to be the biggest high school in Montgomery County. In 3-4 years, there will be 4,000 students there … I wanted to get in on the ground floor in creating a safe environment for the students and staff there … I’ll re-energize my career by doing it,” said Rooney.
Rooney is more than the leader of security personnel. He is heavily involved with the Sherwood community, befriending both staff and students. “Every year for the last 16 years I did a lunch for the entire staff. It’s a lot of fun. I would cook the food and all that and everybody enjoyed it. It was a labor of love and passion . . . Everybody came together,” said Rooney. Through his springtime get-togethers, Rooney enabled staff from various departments who spend the year on opposite ends of the building to socialize and relax. No one leaves hungry.
Security has to handle over 1,800 students and a large campus. Rooney detailed the idea of adding another security staff member. Rooney believes an additional person greatly would lessen the strain on the security team, and make Sherwood safer on the whole. “We’re putting in security doors . . . the front door with the visitor management system. It’s a process that’s evolving and it’s at least one step in safety. It’s going to take time, and we’re going to put in more cameras.” said Rooney.
Rooney is known for being fair and just in dealing with students, and caring for their wellbeing. He keeps snacks and water around for kids who can not buy lunch, and cooks for his colleagues with passion. He will be a valuable team leader at Walter Johnson, and will be missed at Sherwood by students and staff alike.
Rooney’s departure from Sherwood is followed up by the process of choosing his successor. Candidates went go through various stages of approval, and Neal Owens has been hired to replace Rooney. Owens is coming from Whitman, where he worked as a security assistant. Owens also has experience working in the same capacity Einstein and Walter Johnson. Owens has been selected due to his experience and the relationships he builds with students and colleagues. Owens will assume the role of security team leader on November 29.